Judge Debra McLaughlin of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia will face off on May 8 against Shepherdstown attorney David Hammer for Circuit Court Judge in the Eastern Panhandle.
Following the passing of Judge John Yoder last year, Governor Jim Justice appointed McLaughlin to fill the seat.
McLaughlin assumed the seat on September 18, 2017.
“The time has come for the people of the Eastern Panhandle to decide if I should continue serving in this judgeship,” McLaughlin said.
“It is one thing to talk about one’s credentials, training and work experience yet, quite another to have these put to the test,” McLaughlin said. “The Friday following my investiture ceremony was my first day on the bench. It was an open motions day, so I used that opportunity to set forth a clear tone that cases would not be continued, simply by the agreement of attorneys, without establishing good cause.”
“Soon after, I presided over my first jury trial. All went well during that trial and my awareness that attorneys want to present their evidence and tell their stories without much interference from the Court was enhanced.”
“My responsibility, as judge, is to ensure that only admissible evidence is introduced and trials are carried out in an orderly and efficient manner.”
“After I began to settle into the routine of a civil docket on Mondays, drug court on Monday afternoons, a criminal docket on Fridays and addressing the backlog of motions during the weekdays in between, everything changed.”
“With Judge Gray Silver’s unplanned absence, I was asked to temporarily begin hearing criminal cases in Berkeley County. Judge Silver has since retired and I expect to continue covering the dockets of both Judge Yoder and Judge Silver until the Governor appoints another judge.”
Governor Justice is now receiving applications to fill Judge Silver’s seat and the Governor will make an appointment soon.
The person who is appointed to fill Judge Silver’s seat will serve only until May 8 – when the voters will be called on.
In that race, as of now, it appears as if Martinsburg attorney Steve Redding will face off against Falling Waters attorney Kimberly Crockett for Judge Silver’s seat.
“Though it is a challenge to live in Morgan County while hearing cases in both Berkeley and Jefferson Counties, I am grateful to have the opportunity to step up and take on the added case load because it demonstrates my work ethic and, while I am not an old-timer, I am now an established Circuit Court Judge.”
“I may benefit from the fact that voters have had an opportunity to experience my service as their Judge prior to the election. Many of my cases and decisions have been picked up by the news media. With any luck, people in the Eastern Panhandle will read these articles and be of the opinion that I treat people with respect while bringing resolution and finality to cases in a fair and efficient manner.”